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Egypt Accuses Ethiopia of Lacking ’Sincere’ Will to Reach Agreement on GERD Dispute

Egypt Accuses Ethiopia of Lacking ’Sincere’ Will to Reach Agreement on GERD Dispute
folder_openEgypt access_time2 months ago
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By Staff, Agencies

Egyptian Irrigation Minister Mohamed Abdel-Ati said on Tuesday that Addis Ababa lacked a “sincere” political will and intention to reach a deal with Egypt and Sudan in the dispute over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam [GERD].

Abdel-Ati said that unlike Addis Ababa, Cairo has consistently shown throughout those years a “strong” political will and “good” faith to reach a legally binding agreement on the rules for filling and operating its hydropower projects.

The minister’s statement came in a speech he gave during the 5th Annual Arab Water Forum that is being held from 21 to 23 September in Dubai.

He affirmed that throughout years of negotiations, Egypt has offered several scenarios for filing and operating the GERD that ensure the generation of up to 85 percent of the total power Ethiopia seeks to reach by its project, even during periods of extreme drought.

Addis Ababa considers the multibillion-dollar hydropower near-complete GERD — which has been under construction since 2011 — a key project for the country’s development and power generation.

Egypt and Sudan do not oppose Ethiopia’s development goals but the two countries are seeking a legally binding agreement that regulates the rules of filling and operating the dam, as Egypt fears the unilateral filling and operation of the dam would have an impact on its water supply and Sudan is concerned about regulating flows to its own dams and their safety.

The latest rounds of talks between the two downstream countries and upstream Ethiopia collapsed in April after Addis Ababa refused to address Cairo and Khartoum’s concerns by reaching a binding agreement on the dam’s filing and operation, seeking instead mere guidelines that can be modified at any time at its own discretion.

Ethiopia unilaterally completed the first and second fillings of its controversial dam during the past two years despite the absence of an agreement, a step that further angered both Cairo and Khartoum.